Developing and applying novel biomarkers of joint tissue turnover to describe the association between bone, pain and OA

We have an open position for a 3-year PhD fellowship in the EU-funded Innovative Training Network BonePainII (
The PhD position is is a collaboration between Nordic Bioscience and the University of Copenhagen. The position is based at  Nordic Bioscience in Herlev, Denmark and will be conducted with enrolment at the University of Copenhagen.

Expected starting date June 1, 2019.
The application deadline is March 15, 2019.

About the BonePainII Network

BonePainII is a European Innovative Training Network to promote frontline research, innovation and education within bone pain. Millions in Europe and beyond suffer from bone pain, which is a debilitating complication of many musculoskeletal disorders such as arthritis and bone metastasis. The BonePainII network has participants from 6 European countries and encompasses 8 academic groups and 4 industries all committed to creating an outstanding training program for 15 early stage researchers (ESRs) to elucidate the mechanisms of bone pain and develop new medicines.

This project is part of the EU-funded project BonePainII,

The project is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 814244.

Project title: Developing and applying novel biomarkers of joint tissue turnover to describe the association between bone, pain and OA
You work will aim at determining:

Identify biomarkers of joint tissue turnover that may be associated with painful features of OA and whether these markers can be modulated by disease or pain modulating agents in pre-clinical tissue culture models.

• How these biomarkers are associated joint tissue turnover and pain in OA patients.

This project will apply a combination of in vitro and ex vivo systems together with clinical measurements to address the objectives.

In vitro: Novel antibodies will be used to design new assays to quantify joint tissue turnover, and the relevance to OA will be assessed in tissue cultures and clinical samples (see below)

Ex vivo: Cartilage, synovium and bone will be treated with molecules affecting the tissue turnover, such as cytokines and treated with anti-inflammatory inhibitors or pain modulating agents. The main output will be the modulation of biomarkers.

 Clinical: Biomarkers will be measured in clinical samples from OA patients with different degrees of pain and statistical analysis performed to characterize the association between biomarker levels and OA pain.

For the present project a secondment (research exchange stay) is planned for University Medical Center Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Nordic Bioscience
Nordic Bioscience is a Danish biotech company located just outside Copenhagen. Nordic Bioscience has app. 180 employees with the majority being involved in science. The focus is on preclinical and clinical drug development, we are specialized in precision medicine using unique biomarker technologies. We are organized in several research teams with focus on a variety of diseases ranging from arthritis through fibrosis to type 2 diabetes and obesity. Our approach is highly scientific and we take pride in frequently publishing our results in leading journals worldwide resulting in the publication of around 50 articles each year.

This PhD position is within the Biomarkers and Research Division of Nordic Bioscience and based in the Endocrinology Group, where they focus revolved on peptide therapies for arthritis and metabolic conditions.


The supervisors will be Christian S. Thudium, email:, direct phone +45 4454 7727 and Anne-Marie Heegaard (the University of Copenhagen)

Required qualifications
The successful candidate must hold a relevant MSc degree (biochemistry, biotechnology, pharmaceutical science or alike). Experience with animal studies will be an advantage. Fluency in English is essential, as well as being able to work as a part of a research team.

General job description
Your key tasks as a PhD fellow are to:
• Manage and carry through your research project
• Participate in the BonePainII training and network activities
• Take PhD courses
• Write scientific articles and your PhD thesis
• Participate in national and international congresses and scientific meetings
• Research stay at an external research laboratory within the BonePainII network
• Disseminate your research

Key criteria for the assesment of applicants 
• Relevant skills and knowledge
• Previous publications
• Relevant work experience
• The grades achieved during bachelor/master studies
• Other proffesional activities
• Language skills
•Assesment of candidate's motivational letter

Formal requirements: Mobility and eligibility criteria
The candidate must not have resided or carried out his/her main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of his/her host organization for more than 12 months in the last 3 years immediately prior to his/her recruitment – unless as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention.

The candidate must be an Early-Stage Researcher (ESR): at the date of recruitment he/she must be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience)[1] of his/her research career and must not have not been awarded a doctoral degree.

Other formal requirements
The PhD student will be enrolled at the Graduate School of Health and Medical Sciences,  the University of Copenhagen, according to the rules stipulated in the Ministerial order on the PhD program at the universities (PhD order) from the Ministry of Science, Innovation, and Higher Education and the guidelines for the PhD program at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences.

Terms of employment
The position as a PhD fellow is available for a 3-year period.
The terms of employment and salary are in accordance with the local and national rules and in accordance to the rules and regulations laid down by the European Union’s Horizon2020 Marie Sklodowska-Curie Action European Training Network. Exact salary will be confirmed upon appointment.

For further information, applicants may contact the supervisor: Christian S. Thudium, email:, direct phone +45 4454 7727.

How to apply
Applicants are requested to submit their application to: Kim Henriksen, including (in word or pdf):

• Cover letter: Letter stating the interest in and qualifications for the project (max. one page).
• Full CV
• List of publications
• Diploma and transcripts of records: Master´s degree diploma (including grade transcripts for bachelor´s and master´s degrees). Applicants with a Master´s degree from abroad should also enclose a short description of the grading scale used.
• 2 letters of recommendation including contact details for references.
• For those applicants whose principal language of instruction during their BSc/MSc was not English it will be an advantage if they enclose IELTS or TOEFL test scores or equivalent proof of English skills.

Deadline for applications: March 15, 2019.

Applications will be evaluated by an assessment committee consisting of the principal supervisor and 1-2 other members of the BonePainII network or the Department. Short-listed candidates will be invited for an interview (e.g. via Skype). In case of highly qualified, but unsuccessful applications, applicants have the choice of having their application forwarded to another suitable BonePainII network member for consideration.


[1] This is measured from the date when a researcher obtained the degree which would formally entitle him or her to embark on a doctorate, either in the country in which the degree was obtained or in the country in which the researcher is recruited, irrespective of whether or not a doctorate is or was ever envisaged.